Fashion Billionaire Bernard Arnault Buys Stake In Online Auction Site Auctionata

Bernard Arnault. Photo ©2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

Online auction house Auctionata has received financial backing from Groupe Arnault, the controlling shareholder of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chaired by Bernard Arnault.  The undisclosed sum comes in addition to the $45 million of round C funding that the Berlin-based company received in April (see Auctionata Raises $45 Million and Lays Off 30 Percent of Berlin Staff).

Arnault’s decision to back the company takes its total amount raised from investors since its inception in 2012 to approximately $95.7 million, according to the New York Times.

“We are pleased to announce that Groupe Arnault, the controlling shareholder of French luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has invested in Auctionata,” the company wrote on their Facebook page this morning. “Another step towards becoming the global destination for livestream auctions.”

Despite the influx of cash, the company recently announced restructuring plans that effectively laid off about 30 percent of its employees. The layoffs came just months after the auction house announced its intent to produce real-time, live-streamed auctions in the United States, featuring attractive and charismatic auctioneers (see Auctionata Wants to Make You a Television Art Star).

Arnault has expressed increasing interest in the art world in recent years—the Frank Gehry-designed museum Foundation Louis Vuitton opened in October 2014 to mixed reviews (see As a Museum, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris Disappoints, Bernard Arnault Opens Up About Art, Fashion, and His New Museum), and in 1999, he purchased an ill-fated majority stake in Phillips auction house.

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